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When it comes to selecting a good medical school, should we focus more on match lists?
 

boggvir

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Neither. Unless it's like a top ten school, go where you will be happier. As long as you go to an LCME accredited school, it's not going to make a significant impact compared to things like your Step 1 scores, your grades in your clerkships, etc.
 

mmmcdowe

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Neither. Unless it's like a top ten school, go where you will be happier. As long as you go to an LCME accredited school, it's not going to make a significant impact compared to things like your Step 1 scores, your grades in your clerkships, etc.

Rank has very little to do with educational quality and everything to do with research dollars. Match lists are not easily read properly. Counting Harvard's and Johns Hopkins and the number of neurosurgeons is not the same as reading a match list. I can't even properly read a match list.
 

juliedi

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Rank has very little to do with educational quality and everything to do with research dollars. Match lists are not easily read properly. Counting Harvard's and Johns Hopkins and the number of neurosurgeons is not the same as reading a match list. I can't even properly read a match list.
Just curious, how do you properly read a match list? What all does it entail?
 
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This may be a bit off topic, but I think it would be neat to see a graph in which each school's LizzyM score (GPA x 10 + MCAT) were plotted vs. their median USMLE Step 1 score. I mention Step 1 scores because they're considered by residency programs.

If GPA and MCAT performance are correlated with Step 1 scores, and top ranked schools attract applicants with higher GPA/MCAT combinations, then it stands to reason their students will perform higher on the Step 1 regardless. Likewise, someone with a high GPA/MCAT combination at a lower ranked school should still be able to do well on the Step 1, if med school curriculum is irrelevant. Now if a school can take applicants with lower GPA/MCAT combinations and get higher Step 1 scores than one would expect, then maybe they're doing something unique to improve their students' performance. It would be interesting to see who the outliers are (high LizzyM and low Step 1 or low LizzyM and high Step 1) if there are any.

I suspect there is a lot of selection bias going on that makes it difficult to see if the med school itself is doing a great job of teaching students.

It seems like other criteria such as research opportunities, location, quality of rotations, student mentoring and support structures, fit, etc. may have a bigger impact on one's med school experience than ranking or match lists.
 

boggvir

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No school has published their STEP I data.
 
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No school has published their STEP I data.
Good point. I figured it may have to be an inside job, at least if it were to be complete.

I think some schools have put Step 1 data on their websites (I saw UVA's for example) and some schools will give Step 1 results to interviewees if they ask. Perhaps this could be a project for SDNers who are interviewing.
 

gravitywave

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Good point. I figured it may have to be an inside job, at least if it were to be complete.

I think some schools have put Step 1 data on their websites (I saw UVA's for example) and some schools will give Step 1 results to interviewees if they ask. Perhaps this could be a project for SDNers who are interviewing.
...information that is nearly always horribly flawed. Schools can manipulate this data in various ways, for example: they can choose to disregard the Step scores of those who fail, since these people will just end up taking the boards again, otherwise they can't graduate.

anyway, the differences in how a medical school "prepares" students for Step I pale in comparision to the work ethic and inherent brainpower of the students. I don't know how a school could ever make a quantitatively justifiable claim that their curriculum is any better at producing good Step scores than any other (which likely explains why none of them try).

anyway, Law2Doc is about to show up and lay waste to this thread. If OP wants information on the utility of match lists, s/he can run a forum search. If OP wants to know what good school rep does you, here. the short answer is that neither one means very much of anything.
 

Lokhtar

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1st thing I noticed...Derm is not in the 'most competitive' specialties in that chart....:p

EDIT: Not saying the study is wrong..it makes a lot of sense, I just find that amusing.
 

Evergrey

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When it comes to selecting a good medical school, should we focus more on match lists?
I can't speak with much experience considering I have not even begun medical school yet, so take what I say with a grain of salt. However, in my own consideration of where I want to go, there is one oft-overlooked factor that I am placing FAR above others:

Quality of clerkships/amount of responsibility medical students are given: Are you going to graduate medical school ready to jump into residency, or are your skills going to suck and need catching up when you start your internship? Is the school supportive of its students, or does it expect them to sacrifice their personal lives for their education?

Because at the end of the day, the last two years of medical school are way more important than the first two.
 
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Lokhtar

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I can't speak with much experience considering I have not even begun medical school yet, so take what I say with a grain of salt. However, in my own consideration of where I want to go, there is one oft-overlooked factor that I am placing FAR above others:

Quality of clerkships/amount of responsibility medical students are given: Are you going to graduate medical school ready to jump into residency, or are your skills going to suck and need catching up when you start your internship? Is the school supportive of its students, or does it expect them to sacrifice their personal lives for their education?

Because at the end of the day, the last two years of medical school is way more important than the first two.
Maybe current med students can explain - is there a significant difference in terms of quality of education you get at different schools in 3rd and 4th year? I know some DO schools have issues with clerkships, but I thought most MD schools were relatively uniform quality.
 

ischemic2

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I can't speak with much experience considering I have not even begun medical school yet, so take what I say with a grain of salt. However, in my own consideration of where I want to go, there is one oft-overlooked factor that I am placing FAR above others:

Quality of clerkships/amount of responsibility medical students are given: Are you going to graduate medical school ready to jump into residency, or are your skills going to suck and need catching up when you start your internship? Is the school supportive of its students, or does it expect them to sacrifice their personal lives for their education?

Because at the end of the day, the last two years of medical school is way more important than the first two.
I agree with this statement whole heartedly. Obviously, this depends on program directors but one said that they would never take students from an unnamed top 10 school because they have inadequate clinical experience. While Howard students tend to be better clinicians because they're forced to get their hands dirty during 3rd and 4th year as their hospital tends to be understaffed. I'm not saying one school is not better than the other it's just that the obsession with top10 schools doesn't necessarily correlate with better clinicians.
 

Evergrey

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Maybe current med students can explain - is there a significant difference in terms of quality of education you get at different schools in 3rd and 4th year? I know some DO schools have issues with clerkships, but I thought most MD schools were relatively uniform quality.
This is one of the big sources for my beliefs, and it seems like many graduating medical students/residents agree with it. Worth a read regardless of whether you believe it or not:

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=104541
 

45408

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Just curious, how do you properly read a match list? What all does it entail?
The most important factor in a match list is how many students matched into radiation oncology in New York.
 

45408

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I can't speak with much experience considering I have not even begun medical school yet, so take what I say with a grain of salt. However, in my own consideration of where I want to go, there is one oft-overlooked factor that I am placing FAR above others:

Quality of clerkships/amount of responsibility medical students are given: Are you going to graduate medical school ready to jump into residency, or are your skills going to suck and need catching up when you start your internship? Is the school supportive of its students, or does it expect them to sacrifice their personal lives for their education?

Because at the end of the day, the last two years of medical school are way more important than the first two.
Definitely. My memories of med school are 90% clinical rotations and 10% basic science years. Much of the M1/M2 curriculum is all self-taught anyways.
 

RogueUnicorn

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The most important factor in a match list is how many students matched into radiation oncology in New York.
but seriously, should we even look at how many people matched into a specialty of interest? is it indicative of anything even in a general sense?
 
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So if you had multiple acceptances, how would you go about finding out how much 'scut work' you have to do during your rotations?
Talk with 3rd & 4th years and recent grads if they're available. At least this is the approach I'm trying to take. Mind you, I ask about a bunch of stuff other than scut work, but it's all still relevant to the rotations. If you need help contacting existing students for feedback, the admissions office can help out (though they might select certain types of students) or ask on SDN. A few school specific forums have had helpful comments from existing students.
 

Dr McSexy

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So if you had multiple acceptances, how would you go about finding out how much 'scut work' you have to do during your rotations?
Ask the school if they have a representative of the 3rd or 4th year classes who are available/willing to answer questions via e-mail or phone or whatever. At least that's how I would approach it. Some schools even have a 4th years participate to do interview applicants and you could ask then.

Though in either case, the best would probably be to know someone who goes to the respective school.
 

mmmcdowe

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Just curious, how do you properly read a match list? What all does it entail?
It entails knowing the what is the most consistent order of residency programs for every specialty. It also works under the enormous assumption that everyone went into the specialty that they were most competitive for and that they ranked their matches solely based on reputation and not factors such as fit, location, finances, family, etc. You also assume that the quality of a match is significantly affected by school qualities and is not intrinsic to the student body. So basically, even if you knew how well U of NM peds program ranked up against Harvard in peds you are still not getting an accurate assessment of anything. The top student in my class is going into path, not plastic surgery.

but seriously, should we even look at how many people matched into a specialty of interest? is it indicative of anything even in a general sense?
If anything it is indicative that that school has a very charismatic program in this or that specialty, or at the very least gets a lot of exposure. For example, the reason cited by administration at Columbia for why we pump out a significant number of surgical students is the fact that our 3rd year includes rotations through all of the surgical subspecialties. I can't tell you how many senior students have told me that they realized they were interested in such and such program because they rotated through it.